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Thread: December 7,1941

  1. #1
    I'll Lock Up HoosierDaddy's Avatar
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    December 7,1941


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    One Too Many Justin B's Avatar
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    "Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, Members of the Senate, and of the House of Representatives:
    Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

    The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.

    Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. And while this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or of armed attack.

    It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time, the Japanese government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

    The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

    Yesterday, the Japanese government also launched an attack against Malaya.

    Last night, Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.

    Last night, Japanese forces attacked Guam.

    Last night, Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.

    Last night, the Japanese attacked Wake Island.

    And this morning, the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

    Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

    As commander in chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense. But always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us.

    No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

    I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.

    Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger.

    With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph -- so help us God.

    I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7th, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese empire."

    The attack killed 2459 servicemen and civilians, wounded another 1282.
    "Everyone has baggage, everyone. It's just a matter of finding someone with a matching set." - Me

    "If the people who came to town had wanted Bible readings, we’d have given ’em that. But nobody ever asked for Bible readings. They wanted booze, broads, and gambling, so that’s what we gave ’em." - Murray Fredericks speaking about Atlantic City, NJ

  3. #3
    Familiar Face NeilA's Avatar
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    Thanks for remembering from a sailor on Pearl Harbor.

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    Bartender LizzieMaine's Avatar
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    Of course, the sad truth is that there had been no peace in the Pacific since 1931, nor would there be until Japanese militarism was crushed.
    The humblest citizen in all the land, when clad in the armor of a righteous cause, is stronger than all the hosts of error. -- William Jennings Bryan

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    I have been studying WWII all my life, but for some reason had never heard or read the full text of FDR's speech. It was surprising to "hear" him say: "In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu." I'm surprised that even then that they didn't check the accuracy of that statement before putting it in such an important Presidential speech.

    Lizzie's mention of 1931 reminded me of the book "The Great Pacific War: A History of the American-Japanese Campaign of 1931-1933" (1925) by Hector Bywater. It was a forerunner of the Tom-Clancy-style future-war genre.
    It has several good predictions that were basically correct, such as the outbreak of the war by a Japanese sneak attack, although in the book it was against the Panama Canal, not Pearl Harbor. On the minus side, it predicted the extensive use of gas warfare, which did not happen.
    Has anyone else read this book?

    (Thanks to all Veterans of all Wars on Pearl Harbor Day.)

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    "A List" Customer Aristaeus's Avatar
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    I'll Lock Up Shangas's Avatar
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    Of course, the sad truth is that there had been no peace in the Pacific since 1931, nor would there be until Japanese militarism was crushed.
    Japanese aggression in the Pacific before 1941 is often forgotten and glossed over by Western historians in my opinion. But the truth is as Lizzie says, for a full DECADE before 1941, the Japs were flexing their guns on the Pacific.

    1931 - The Japanese invade, and occupy Manchuria. The "Mukden Incident".

    1932 - The Japanese attack Shanghai. The National Revolutionary Army drives them back. The "First Shanghai Incident".

    1937 - The Japanese begin their full-out attack on Republican China. The "Marco Polo Bridge Incident".

    - July 1937 - The Japanese attack the Chinese city of Beiping (also called Peking, also called Beijing...it means the same thing in either naming - Northern Capital, except 'Beiping' literally means 'Northern Peace').

    In a month, the city is overrun.

    - August-November 1937. The Japanese launch their second attack on Shanghai ("Second Shanghai Incident"). While the outskirts of the city are occupied by the Japanese, the central "International Settlement" remains occupation-free. It is an expatriate zone for Western nationals. British, American, French, German, Italian, Jewish, Russians, all live here.

    An attack on the Settlement would blow up in the face of the Japanese. Every nation on earth would chase after them. So they leave it alone.

    For the time being.

    While Peking falls in a month, Shanghai, which had repelled an attack before, does not fall until after three months of street-to-street fighting. Because of its importance as a trading-city, and the immense international investment in Shanghai, the Nationalists are desperate to keep the city safe for as long as they can.

    - December, 1937. The Japanese attack the ancient city of Nanking, then the capital of China. The "Rape of Nanking" follows, in which tens of thousands of women, children, men and POWs are raped, tortured, murdered, buried alive, decapitated or machine-gunned en-masse.

    In the middle of this, leader of the Nazis in the middle of Nanking, John Raabe, establishes the Nanking Safety Zone. Taking advantage of the Japanese-German alliance, he establishes a DMZ in the middle of Nanking where Chinese civilians can hide. The Japanese don't really honour the agreement, and repeatedly raid the Zone, looking for POWs.

    As Western diplomats and expats flee the city, the Japanese attack the evacuation-ships. They strafe and bomb the U.S.S. Pannay. Onboard are reporters, civilian evacuees, and staff of the U.S. Embassy. Two newsreel camera-men film the entire attack. Even though the ship sinks, most people escape to the lifeboats. But even these are raked by Japanese gunfire as they row towards the shores of the Yangtze River.

    - December 7th, 1941.

    The Japanese invade the rest of the Pacific area.

    They attack Pearl Harbor before they attack ANYWHERE ELSE. Disabling the American fleet is their first priority. Once it's out of action, they go after the other islands and countries, mentioned in the Infamy Speech.

    With Western military support out of action, in the shape of the U.S. Navy, the Japanese launch an all-out invasion on the International Settlement in Shanghai. No longer under Chinese protection, and without the assurance of exterior military aid, the Settlement collapses. Those who are lucky enough, manage to escape on refugee ships bound for America, Australia and outposts of the British Empire.

    Western expats, now with nowhere to call home, are classed "stateless refugees". Some had lived their entire lives in Shanghai. Some had lived there for generations. They called themselves "Shanghailanders". But with the Settlement dissolved, they have nowhere else to go.

    Most of them are herded into concentration-camps. The Nazis urge the Japanese to exterminate the Jews, but the Japs aren't interested in that. Instead, they herd Shanghai's Jewish population (some tens of thousands of Jews), into the "Hongkou Ghetto". Officially called the "Zone for Stateless Refugees", it houses the Jews for the rest of the War. Here, they are largely left to fend for themselves. The Japanese don't really help them, but neither do they hinder their daily activities.

    Some 30,000 European jews flee to Shanghai during the period 1933-1941. It is one of the few international ports that will allow them entrance without visas or passports.

    When the war ended, the Jews flee to America, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom.

    In a documentary about the Shanghai Ghetto, one survivor complained about how terrible it was to live in Shanghai during the occupation. But then when the war ended, they found out what had happened in Europe. In her own words: "All the time, we were living in paradise".

  8. #8
    Bartender LizzieMaine's Avatar
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    An excellent summary. Pearl Harbor may have been the event that finally forced the ostriches to pull their heads out of the sand, but it was just another day's work for a regime which in every way equaled the evil of the Nazis. They didn't worry too much about the Jews because they were too busy trying to exterminate as many Chinese and Koreans as possible, whether thru starvation, torture, or out and out murder.
    Last edited by LizzieMaine; 12-07-2012 at 07:35 PM.
    The humblest citizen in all the land, when clad in the armor of a righteous cause, is stronger than all the hosts of error. -- William Jennings Bryan

  9. #9
    I'll Lock Up Shangas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LizzieMaine View Post
    An excellent summary. Pearl Harbor may have been the event that finally forced the ostriches to pull their heads out of the sand, but it was just another day's work for a regime which in every way equaled the evil of the Nazis. They didn't worry too much about the Jews because they were too busy trying to exterminate as many Chinese and Koreans as possible, whether thru starvation, torture, or out and out murder.
    Thanks. The Japanese loathed the Chinese. In fact, I remember a documentary that said the Japanese started the Rape of Nanking as "revenge" for the Chinese "daring" to defy them at Shanghai, and holding out for three months, and making the Japanese "look bad" in front of their emperor.

    Whether or not it's true is up for debate, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was.

    The Japs massacred Chinese where-ever they went. They even did the same thing in Singapore and Malaya. My grandmother was a young woman at the time. Fortunately, she married really soon after the invasion (she and grandpa tied the knot in 1943) so the Japs had no interest in her because she wasn't a virgin.

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    "A List" Customer I Adore Film Noir's Avatar
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    R.I.P. brave servicemen, thank you for my freedom.
    Vintage is always in style

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